Cookies Policy

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

I accept this policy

Find out more here

The effect of shrubs on the seed rain of annuals in a semiarid landscape

No metrics data to plot.
The attempt to load metrics for this article has failed.
The attempt to plot a graph for these metrics has failed.
The full text of this article is not currently available.

Brill’s MyBook program is exclusively available on BrillOnline Books and Journals. Students and scholars affiliated with an institution that has purchased a Brill E-Book on the BrillOnline platform automatically have access to the MyBook option for the title(s) acquired by the Library. Brill MyBook is a print-on-demand paperback copy which is sold at a favorably uniform low price.

Access this article

+ Tax (if applicable)
Add to Favorites
You must be logged in to use this functionality

image of Israel Journal of Plant Sciences

Sarcopoterium spinosum (prickly burnet) is a dominant shrub species in many semiarid shrublands of the eastern Mediterranean region. The annual plant community under the shrub canopy differs significantly from that in open (intershrub) patches in terms of abundance, biomass, and species diversity. This shrub/open contrast in vegetation closely matches the contrast in abiotic conditions, which is mainly attributed to the engineering effects of the shrub. However, S. spinosum may also act as a seed barrier between patch types, thus controlling which seeds are exposed to the contrasting conditions. As the canopy of S. spinosum is shaped like a tightly packed cushion, we hypothesized that it prevents or slows the movement of seeds across patch boundaries. We tested this hypothesis by comparing the seed rains under intact shrubs, under shrubs whose canopies were removed, and in open patches. We compared the distribution among the patch types of species at the seed stage with that of the same species at the adult stage. We found a sharp contrast in seed population between seed traps under intact shrubs and those in open patches, and a much weaker contrast between seed traps under removed shrub canopies and those in open patches. However, between-patch differences at the seed stage tightly paralleled those seen at the adult stage, strongly suggesting that within-patch dispersal is much more probable than between-patch dispersal. The implications of these dispersal patterns for population and community dynamics are discussed. In addition, we discuss the consequences of our findings for shrub-annuals interaction.

Affiliations: 1: Mitrani Department of Desert Ecology, Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev ; 2: Department of Agronomy and Natural Resources, Institute of Plant Sciences, Agricultural Research Organization, The Volcani Center


Full text loading...


Data & Media loading...

1. Aguiar, M. R., Sala, O. E. 1997. Seed distribution constrains the dynamics of the Patagonian steppe. Ecology 78: 93-100.
2. Aguiar, M. R., Sala, O. E. 1999. Patch structure, dynamics and implications for the functioning of arid ecosystems. Trends Ecol. Evol. 14: 273-277.
3. Arnon, A. 2005. Spatio-temporal dynamics of the association between woody and herbaceous vegetation in a grazed, semi-arid ecosystem. M. Sc. thesis, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Be'er Sheva, Israel.
4. Badano, E. I., Cavieres, L. A. 2006. Ecosystem engineering across ecosystems: do engineer species sharing common features have generalized or idiosyncratic effects on species diversity? J. Biogeogr. 33: 304-313.
5. Badano, E. I., Jones, T. H., Cavieres, L. A., Wright, J. P. 2006. Assessing impacts of ecosystem engineers on community organization: a general approach illustrated by effects of a high-Andean cushion plant. Oikos 115: 369-385.
6. Bai, Y. G., Romo, J. T. 1997. Seed production, seed rain, and the seedbank of fringed sagebrush. J. Range Manage. 50: 151-155.
7. Baram, H. 1996. Meteorological data. Lehavim Hills, Israel (1987-95). Volcani Center, Bet Dagan, Israel (in Hebrew).
8. Boeken, B., Shachak, M. 1994. Desert plant communities in human-made patches—implications for management. Ecol. Appl. 4: 702-716.
9. Boeken, B., Shachak, M. 1998. Colonization by annual plants of an experimentally altered desert landscape: source-sink relationships. J. Ecol. 86: 804-814.
10. Bolker, B. M., Pacala, S. W. 1999. Spatial moment equations for plant competition: understanding spatial strategies and the advantages of short dispersal. Am. Nat. 153: 575-602.
11. Bullock, J. A., Moy, I. L. 2004. Plants as seed traps: inter-specific interference with dispersal. Acta Oecol.—Int. J. Ecol. 25: 35-41.
12. Carey, P. D., Watkinson, A. 1993. The dispersal and fates of seeds of the winter annual grass Vulpia ciliata.J. Ecol. 81: 759-767.
13. Chave, J., Muller-Landau, H. C., Levin, S. A. 2002. Comparing classical community models: theoretical consequences for patterns of diversity. Am. Nat. 159: 1-23.
14. Chesson, P. 2000. Mechanisms of maintenance of species diversity. Annu. Rev. Ecol. Syst. 31: 343-366.
15. Clark, J. S., MaCklin, E., Wood, L. 1998. Stages and spatial scales of recruitment limitation in southern Appalachian forests. Ecol. Monog. 68: 213-235.
16. Dalling, J. W., Muller-Landau, H. C., Wright, S. J., Hubbell, S. P. 2002. Role of dispersal in the recruitment limitation of neotropical pioneer species. J. Ecol. 90: 714-727.
17. Ellner, S., Shmida, A. 1981. Why are adaptations for long-range seed dispersal rare in desert plants? Oecologia 51: 133-144.
18. Ellner, S. P., Shmida, A. 1984. Seed dispersal in relation to habitat in the genus Picris (Compositae) in Mediterranean and arid regions. Isr. J. Bot. 33: 25-39.
19. Eriksson, O., Ehrlen, J. 1992. Seed and microsite limitation of recruitment in plant populations. Oecologia 91: 360-364.
20. Gilad, E., von Hardenberg, J., Provenzale, A., Shachak, M., Meron, E. 2004. Ecosystems engineers: from pattern formation to habitat creation. Phys. Rev. Lett. 93: 0981051.
21. Gotelli, N. J., Colwell, R. K. 2001. Quantifying biodiversity: procedures and pitfalls in the measurement and comparison of species richness. Ecol. Lett. 4: 379-391.
22. Guo, Q. 1998. Microhabitat differentiation in Chihuahuan Desert plant communities. Plant Ecol. 139: 71-80.
23. Henkin, Z., Seligman, N. G., Kafkafi, U., Prinz, D. 1998. End-of-season soil water depletion in relation to growth of herbaceous vegetation in a sub-humid Mediterranean dwarf-shrub community on two contrasting soils. Plant Soil 202: 317-326.
24. HillerisLambers, R., Rietkerk, M., van den Bosch, F., Prins, N. H.T., de Kroon, H. 2001. Vegetation pattern formation in semi-arid grazing systems. Ecology 82: 50-61.
25. Holzapfel, C., Tielborger, K., Parag, H. A., Kigel, J., Sternberg, M. 2006. Annual plant-shrub interactions along an aridity gradient. Basic Appl. Ecol. 7: 268-279.
26. Jones, C. G., Lawton, J. H., Shachak, M. 1994. Organisms as ecosystem engineers. Oikos 69: 373-386.
27. Jones, C. G., Lawton, J. H., Shachak, M. 1997. Positive and negative effects of organisms as physical ecosystem engineers. Ecology 78: 1946-1957.
28. Levine, J. M., Murrel, D. J. 2003. The community-level consequences of seed dispersal patterns. Annu. Rev. Ecol. Evol. Syst. 34: 549-574.
29. Litav, M., Orshan, G. 1971. Biological flora of Israel. 1. Sarcopoterium-Spinosum (L.) sp. Isr. J. Bot. 20: 48-64.
30. Litav, M., Kupernik, G., Orshan, G. 1963. The role of competition as a factor in determining the distribution of dwarf shrub communities in the Mediterranean territory of Israel. J. Ecol. 51: 467-480.
31. Maestre, F. T., Cortina, J. 2005. Remnant shrubs in Mediterranean semi-arid steppes: effects of shrub size, abiotic factors and species identity on understorey richness and occurrence. Acta Oecol.—Int. J. Ecol. 27: 161-169.
32. Marone, L., Rossi, B. E., Horno, M. E. 1998. Timing and spatial patterning of seed dispersal and redistribution in a South American warm desert. Plant Ecol. 137: 143-150.
33. McEuen, A. B., Curran, L. M. 2004. Seed dispersal and recruitment limitation across spatial scales in temperate forest fragments. Ecology 85: 507-518.
34. Nathan, R., Muller-Landau, H. C. 2000. Spatial patterns of seed dispersal, their determinants and consequences for recruitment. Trends Ecol. Evol. 15: 278-285.
35. Osem, Y., Perevolotsky, A., Kigel, J. 2002. Grazing effect on diversity of annual plant communities in a semi-arid rangeland: interactions with small-scale spatial and temporal variation in primary productivity. J. Ecol. 90: 936-946.
36. Palmer, M. W. 1994. Variation in species richness—towards a unification of hypotheses. Fol. Geobot. Phytotax. 29: 511-530.
37. Pariente, S. 2002. Spatial patterns of soil moisture as affected by shrubs in different climatic conditions. Env. Monit. Assess. 73: 37-251.
38. Price, M. V., Joyner, J. W. 1997. What resources are available to desert granivores: seed rain or soil seed bank? Ecology 78: 764-773.
39. Pugnaire, F. I., Lazaro, R. 2000. Seed bank and understorey species composition in a semi-arid environment: The effect of shrub age and rainfall. Ann. Bot. 86: 807-813.
40. Pugnaire, F., Haase, P., Puigdefabregas, J., Cueto, M., Clark, S., Incoll, L. 1996. Facilitation and succession under the canopy of a leguminous shrub, Retama sphaerocarpa, in a semi-arid environment in south-east Spain. Oikos 76: 455-464.
41. Pugnaire, F., Armas, C., Valladares, F. 2004. Soil as a mediator in plant-plant interactions in a semi-arid community. J. Veg. Sci. 15: 85-92.
42. Reisman-Berman, O. 2004. Mechanisms controlling spatiotemporal dynamics of shrubland patchiness: the case study of Sarcopoterium spinosum (L.) Spach. Ph.D. thesis, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Be'er Sheva, Israel.
43. Reisman-Berman, O., Kadmon, R., Shachak, M. 2006. Spatiotemporal scales of dispersal limitation in the recolonization of a semi-arid Mediterranean old-field. Ecography 29: 418-426.
44. Rew, L. J., Froud-Williams, R. J., Boatman, N. D. 1996. Dispersal of Bromus sterilis and Anthriscus sylvestris seed within arable field margins. Agric. Ecosys. Environ. 59: 107-114.
45. Ricklefs, R. E. 1977. Environmental heterogeneity and plant species diversity: a hypothesis. Am. Nat. 111: 376-381.
46. Russell, S. K., Schupp, E. W. 1998. Effects of microhabitat patchiness on patterns of seed dispersal and seed predation of Cercocarpus ledifolius (Rosaceae). Oikos 81: 434-443.
47. Seifan, M., Kadmon, R. 2006. Indirect effects of cattle grazing on shrub spatial pattern in a Mediterranean scrub community. Basic Appl. Ecol. 7: 496-506.
48. Seligman, N. G., Henkin, Z. 2000. Regeneration of a dominant Mediterranean dwarf-shrub after fire. J. Veg. Sci. 11: 893-902.
49. Seligman, N. G., Henkin, Z. 2002. Persistence in Sarcopoterium spinosum dwarf-shrub communities. Plant Ecol. 164: 95-107.
50. Shaukat, S. S., Siddiqui, I. A. 2004. Spatial pattern analysis of seeds of an arable soil seed bank and its relationship with above-ground vegetation in an arid region. J. Arid Environ. 57: 311-327.
51. Snyder, R. E., Chesson, P. 2003. Local dispersal can facilitate coexistence in the presence of permanent spatial heterogeneity. Ecol. Lett. 6: 301-309.
52. StatSoft. 2005. STATISTICA (data analysis software system) Version 7.1. StatSoft, Tulsa, OK.
53. Tielborger, K., Kadmon, R. 1995. Effect of shrubs on emergence, survival and fecundity of four coexisting annual species in a sandy desert ecosystem. Ecoscience 2: 141-147.
54. Tielborger, K., Kadmon, R. 1997. Relationships between shrubs and annual communities in a sandy desert ecosystem: A three-year study. Plant Ecol. 130: 191-201.
55. Tilman, D. 1997. Community invasibility, recruitment limitation, and grassland biodiversity. Ecology 78: 81-92.
56. Tilman, D., Pacala, S. 1993. The maintenance of species richness in plant communities. In: Ricklefs, R. E., Schluter, D., eds. Species diversity in ecological communities: historical and geographical perspectives. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, pp. 13-25.
57. Titus, J. H., Nowak, R. S., Smith, S. D. 2002. Soil resource heterogeneity in the Mojave Desert. J. Arid Environ. 52: 269-292.
58. Tongway, D. J., Valentin, C. 2001. Banded vegetation patterning in arid and semiarid environments—ecological processes and consequences for management. Springer, New York.
59. Turnbull, L. A., Crawley, M. J., Rees, M. 2000. Are plant populations seed-limited? A review of seed sowing experiments. Oikos 88: 225-238.
60. Vellend, M. 2003. Habitat loss inhibits recovery of plant diversity as forests regrow. Ecology 84: 1158-1164.
61. West, N. E. 1990. Spatial pattern-functional interactions in shrub-dominated plant communities. In: McKell, C. M., ed. Shrub biology and utilization. Academic Press, New York. pp. 283-305.
62. Whitehouse, M. E.A., Shochat, E., Shachak, M., Lubin, Y. 2002. The influence of scale and patchiness on spider diversity in a semi-arid environment. Ecography 25: 395-404.
63. Wilson, S. D. 2000. Heterogeneity, diversity and scale in plant communities. In: Hutchings, M. J., John, E. A., Stewart, A. J.A., eds. The ecological consequences of environmental heterogeneity. Blackwell, Oxford. pp. 53-69.
64. Zeiter, M., Stampfli, A., Newbery, D. M. 2006. Recruitment limitation constrains local species richness and productivity in dry grassland. Ecology 87: 942-951.
65. Zobel, M., Otsus, M., Liira, J., Moora, M., Mols, T. 2000. Is small-scale species richness limited by seed availability or microsite availability? Ecology 81: 3274-3282.

Article metrics loading...



Can't access your account?
  • Tools

  • Add to Favorites
  • Printable version
  • Email this page
  • Subscribe to ToC alert
  • Get permissions
  • Recommend to your library

    You must fill out fields marked with: *

    Librarian details
    Your details
    Why are you recommending this title?
    Select reason:
    Israel Journal of Plant Sciences — Recommend this title to your library
  • Export citations
  • Key

  • Full access
  • Open Access
  • Partial/No accessInformation